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Today Date : Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Remembering Ayodhidasa Pandithar:  A Pioneer in Dravidian Identity  and Social Reform

Remembering Ayodhidasa Pandithar: A Pioneer in Dravidian Identity and Social Reform

Ayodhidasa Pandithar, a renowned Dravidian revolutonary, was born on May 20, 1845, in the then Madras province's Thenampettai Thousand Lights area. He studied Sanskrit, Pali, Tamil, and English. He became a skilled practitioner of Siddha medicine after studying it. Vallakalathi Ayodhidasa, the Tamil instructor he studied under, gave him his own name.
In addition to being a brilliant writer, researcher, publisher, and linguist, he was also a doctor. He was as adaptable as a poet who spoke several languages. Upon observing the inequality in the society, Ayodthidasa Pandithar embarked on a journey of social reform, with the primary goals of social emancipation and the abolition of caste. Ayodthidasa Pandithar was referred to by Thandhai Periyar as "the forerunner of my rational campaign and reformist ideas."
Ayodidasa Pandithar aimed to instill a sense of Tamil identity in everyone by eliminating caste and religious distinctions. He was widely acclaimed as the pioneer of social reform in South India, standing up for his rights during a time when racial, religious, and caste divisions dominated society.
He battled for the rights of the oppressed and was successful in getting opportunities in local government bodies, government jobs, and educational facilities and stipends for the oppressed.
He was among the key figures who established the groundwork for Buddhism's growth in Tamil Nadu, particularly in the southern region. The foundations of both Buddhism and Dravidianism are reason and self-respect. That's what Ayodhidasa Pandithar initially recognised.
Building a memorial in Chennai featuring a full-length statue for Dravidian scholar and pioneer Ayodhitasa Pandithar, and having Chief Minister M.K. Stalin inaugurate it today, is not only a matter of pleasure but also a historical honour.
Let Ayodhidasa’sglory continue to shine! May we see the casteless society he so desired come to pass!